In the years that I have been defending brokers from customer complaints, I have learned that there are a number of things brokers can do to avoid customer complaints. For some reason, however, brokers frequently make some simple mistakes that result in big problems.
Here is a list of key things you can do to ward off customer complaints:
- Be selective regarding who you want as a client;
- Perform due diligence regarding all prospective clients;
- Make sure you know your customers before they become a customer and when changing investment strategies;
- Have frequent and honest communications with all clients;
- Don’t avoid client phone calls;
- Document all client communications with contemporaneous notes, or follow-up email/letters;
- Do not pigeon-hole a client into your investing style;
- Be a good listener;
- Update client information every year to ensure compliance with point 3; and
- If a customer complains, seek immediate assistance from your managing principal/compliance; never try to resolve a complaint on your own.
I have also put together guidebooks that cover these topics; you may find them of use for you as well.
Although the list is useful, one of the more important things for you to do is to have fun. If you have fun and enjoy what you do, avoiding liability is relatively easy. It is when you are in a funk or complacent that problems will arise.
Have fun, work hard, and have a successful practice.
* photo from freedigitalphotos.net